Advocate for Local Businesses To Join New Canaan Parking Commission

A local business advocate is to be appointed Tuesday to the municipal body that adjudicates parking ticket appeals and oversees off-street lots in New Canaan. 

The Board of Selectmen is scheduled during its regular meeting to vote on the appointment of Laura Budd of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce to the Parking Commission. She is to replace Stuart Stringfellow on the five-member Commission. Asked about the imminent appointment, Budd said she’s looking forward to joining. “As part of my job at the Chamber I have worked very closely with [Parking Manager] Stacy [Miltenberg] and whole Parking Department team and of course Keith [Richey] as Chairman of the Commission,” Budd said in a text. “I have a lot to learn but look forward to bringing the perspective of the downtown business community to the table as we all work toward the goal of making the parking situation more accessible for shoppers and workers alike.”

That’s emerged as a focal point among town leaders.

‘Thought I Paid at the Machine’: Parking Ticket Appeals

The following appeals were filed recently with the New Canaan Parking Bureau by ticketed motorists. ***

“I am an Fairfield resident. I am staying at my daughters’ on Laurel/Hidden Meadow Lane and I was meeting a friend at Ching’s for lunch. There is no parking around—so I went behind Town Hall and parked. Did not realize there are prepaid spots + machines.

New Canaan Resident Puts Town on Formal Notice Regarding Parking Requirements

The width of parking stalls in Morse Court fails to meet a 9-foot minimum specified in New Canaan’s own Zoning Regulations, according to a town resident who has advised the first selectman’s office on the matter. State law appears to require that municipalities abide by their own regulations, according to Jeff Holland, and “[i]t also appears that a town cannot cherry-pick which regulations apply or which don’t.”

“Parking Commission minutes show that several people have been ticketed for parking outside of the lines demarcating spaces,” Holland said in a Nov. 14 email to Tom Stadler, administrative officer in the first selectman’s office. 

“Most of these instances are on Elm and in Morse Court,” Holland continued in the letter, obtained by through a public records request. “I have also heard that drivers avoid parking in Morse Court because their car doors get damaged, as the parking is so tight. The parking spaces in Morse Court are nowhere near the minimum width of 9 feet … It’s easy to see how drivers are getting tickets—it almost seems like entrapment. Just one car parked slightly out of place creates a chain reaction of violations down the line.

Parking Commission Opposed to Double Yellow Line in Morse Court

Members of the New Canaan Parking Commission at their most recent meeting said they are opposed to a traffic consultant’s recommendation that Morse Court be double-yellow-lined, so as to eliminate “wrong way” parking on the north side of the road, which is used for access to the Morse Court Lot. The traffic consultant had first made the recommendation during a meeting of the Police Commission several weeks ago—when possible changes to parking and crosswalks on Main Street were discussed—and it was reported by NewCanaanite. However, during the Nov. 7 meeting at Town Hall, Parking Commissioner Pamela Crum wanted to make it clear to the public that the appointed body is not in favor of this recommendation and, furthermore, that the road falls under the purview of the Parking Commission and not the Police Commission. “[This matter] results from an article in New Canaanite about a consultant that the police had hired who had suggested putting a double yellow line through Morse Court, so there would be a street, so you could put one-way parking down one side,” Crum explained.